Briefing Paper

Boon or Bane: Foreign Graduate Students in U.S. Engineering Programs

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Colleges and universities in the United States have for many years welcomed foreign students with positive expectations concerning the contributions these foreign students are likely to make to the quality of education and with only vague concerns that the economic costs of foreign students may outweigh the benefits. Most immediately, however, the very high proportions of foreign engineering graduate students have been of growing concern to policymakers in government and higher education not simply because of consequences for the character and quality of engineering programs but also because of the significant role that engineering plays in underpinning the industrial strength of the United States.

 These concerns shall be dealt with under the following rubrics:

(1) Access to graduate engineering education.

(2) The process and content of engineering education.

(3) The quality of engineering education and research.

(4) National and economic security issues.

(5) The composition of faculty.

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